Tuesday, May 03, 2005


One of my dear readers said this:

I'm not sure i understand this, why does wanting a more moral life coupled with not wanting your kids to be negatively influenced by less moral people show that the orthodox world is screwed up. ??

Short answer: You can't learn anything significant from studying someone's clothing. We all know fine people who wear jeans and T-shirts, and we all know perfectly miserable human beings who are never seen without their hats and jackets. It's a very large leap to call someone "less moral" because of their clothing. Perhaps they're kind, learned, generous people? You won't ever know if you let clothing be an excuse to flee from their presence.

Longer answer: When Abraham prayed for the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah he did not say, "perhaps 10 righteous men are hiding in their homes, too frightened to engage their evil and immoral neighbors.” Instead he described the righteous men using the phrase "in the midst of the city"

Wrote Sampson Raphael Hirsch: "The righteous ones must be the ones who fear G-d not only in the safety and privacy of their homes, but in the midst of the city -- playing a prominent part in public life and exerting their influence against evil forces. Only in such a manner, and not by remaining anonymous, could this righteous hope to possess the spiritual merit of saving the city. If the animosity of the wicked were so intimidating that the righteous were forced to remain inside, then G-d believed there was no hope for the city."

In other words, if you, who consider yourself "righteous,” self-righteously refuse to interact with your less-rightuous neighbors, you're both signing and confirming your city's spiritual death sentance.